The object of the game is that two teams of 15, 10 or seven players each, observing fair play, according to the laws and sporting spirit, should by carrying, passing, kicking and grounding the ball, score as many points as possible, the team scoring the greater number of points being the winner of the match.

The laws of the game, including the standard set of variations for under-19s, 10s and rugby sevens, are complete and contain all that is necessary to enable the game to be played correctly and fairly.

Rugby union is a sport which involves physical contact and, as such, presents inherent dangers. It is very important to play the game in accordance with the laws and be mindful of player welfare at all times.

It is the responsibility of players to ensure that they are physically and technically prepared to play within the laws and are committed to participate in accordance with safe practices and enjoyment.

It is the responsibility of those who coach or teach the game to ensure that players are prepared to comply with the laws, to play fairly and practice safe conduct.

It is the duty of the referee to apply fairly all the laws in every match, including law trials and variations as authorised by World Rugby.

It is the duty of the unions to ensure that the game at every level is conducted in accordance with disciplined and sporting behaviour.

The principle of fair play cannot be upheld solely by the referee. Responsibility for its observance also rests on unions, clubs, other affiliated bodies, coaches and players.

Each union should create a pathway programme for youth players. Through this programme, young players can be gradually introduced to the various phases of rugby at an appropriate time, offering them more protection from injury. The age and content of this programme should be determined by each union, depending on the unique characteristics of the playing environment within that union.